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Title: A Confession of St. Augustine
Author: Howells, William Dean
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Confession of St. Augustine" ***

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                           MONTHLY MAGAZINE

                             VOLUME CXXXIV

                     DECEMBER, 1916, TO MAY, 1917

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                          NEW YORK AND LONDON

                     HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

                     A Confession of St. Augustine

                           BY W. D. HOWELLS

                                PART I

WHEN we drove from the station up into the town, in the March of our
first sojourn, and saw the palmettoes all along the streets, among the
dim live-oaks and the shining magnolias, our doubting hearts lifted, and
we said: “Yes, yes, it is all true! This is St. Augustine as advertised:
the air, the sky, the wooden architecture of the 1870’s and ’80’s, when
St. Augustine flourished most, and the memory of that dear Constance
Fenimore Woolson, who worshiped Florida past all Italy, was still sweet
in our literature. Yes, it is all incredibly true!” Then, as we made our
way to Mr. Hastings’s beautiful masterpieces, the hotels Ponce de Leon
and Alcazar, and took refuge in the Neo-Andalusian of the simpler
hostelry from the Belated American of those obsolescent cottages, we
gathered our faith and courage more and more about us, and gave
ourselves to that charm of the place which has not yet failed us.

The charm is very complex, as a true charm always is, but the place is
very simple, as a place which has taken time to grow always is. It is
especially so if the place, like St. Augustine, has had its period of
waning as well as waxing, and has gently lapsed from its climax. The
heydey of its prosperity was in the years between the 1870’s and ’80’s,
when St. Augustine promised to be lastingly, as it was most fitly, the
winter resort for the whole sneezing and coughing North. Then the Great
Freeze blasted the oranges and hopes of all Upper Florida; then
California flowered and fruited ahead; then the summer shores of Palm
Beach and Miami took the primacy from California, and Florida was again
the desire of our winter travel and sojourn, with a glory of motoring
and dancing such as Florida never knew before, or can ever know, at St.
Augustine. But the little city continued the metropolis of the mind and
heart for such as did not care to shine with the luster of money; and
those beautiful hotels remained without rivalry from the vast wooden
caravansaries of the more tropical resorts, and still remain holding
down their quarter of the local topography.

It is better, though, to own at once that the charm of St. Augustine
derives nothing from any thing like grandeur in the domestic
architecture of the past. In the Spanish city there were probably no
dwellings of such stateliness as the three or four mansions of our own
Colonial classic, which with their groves and gardens redeem the
American town from the reproach of those deplorable ’seventies and
’eighties, when our eclectic architecture tried its ’prentice hand on so
many of the cottages. The Spaniards had built themselves unassuming
houses of coquina, always flush upon the sidewalks, and painted their
coating of stucco in the buffs and blues and pinks of the Latin taste;
and their dwellings never had the proportion of palaces, if one may
imagine them from the few that remain. But when you leave Mr. Hastings’s
hotels, and keep along King Street eastward on the town plan, you are
almost at once in the Plaza, which is the heart of every Spanish town,
and which begins here with the fountained and palmettoed oblong
inclosing what was once the Spanish governor’s palace, or so said to be.
It is now the American post-office and custom-house, but is inalienably
dignified and venerable, with some galleried façades of the same period
on one side, and a compendious reach of cheerful shops on the other.
These are on King Street, and you must cross St. George Street
(stretching crookedly northward with shops and hotels to the old city
gate, and southward with embowered dwellings of divers architectural
effects and intentions) before you are again at the Plaza, holding the
same eastward course to the shining bay, and to the long bridge built on
piers of palmetto logs after the fashion invented at York Harbor in
Maine and followed in the Long Bridge at Boston. But the bridge from St.
Augustine to Anastasia Island is longer than any other of its kind, even
that over the Piscataqua at Portsmouth which it also excels in the
enormity of its tolls, as you shall find when you cross it to the
snow-white billowing of the low northward sand-dunes and the thick gloom
of the cedar and live-oak woods rising from the water to the southward
in an illusion of uplands. All round the city where there are not
stretches of palmetto scrub and pine woods, there is the far sweep of
the salt-savannahs, with reed like grasses growing tall, and keeping
their Spanish brown from November till March, and then slowly turning
green, as it were insensibly, almost invisibly, after the use of
vegetation in the South. In the waters around, hidden in the deeps or
bristling from the shallows, grow the exhaustless ranks of the little
oysters, which before the white man came to know their deliciousness
left their shells by the million tons. These are still used in the
construction of the beautiful shell roads of the country round, now
replaced in the town by the harsh brick pavements which the municipality
is so proud of and which really hold down the dust as the shells could


It is to be said in the praise of the municipality that it keeps these
pavements swept blamelessly clean; and by night you may hear the negroes
sweeping, doubly darkling over their surface, and softly gossiping
together. Theirs are not the only black voices you hear, for their
casual race seems to have no more stated hours for sleeping than for
eating. Their mellow murmurs, especially when the nights are warm, rise
in what seems perpetual joking, as if from their humorous pleasure at
being alive together in the same amusing world; and if you have no worse
conscience than the talkers, their voices will lull you again to the
slumbers they have broken. It is as if a swarm of blackbirds, carrying
news of the spring northward, had swept chuckling through


the trees and fluttered the fans of the palms and the leaves of the
magnolias with such comment in their course as would naturally occur to

By day these kindly colored folk did not seem to superabound as they do
in Charleston, but this may have been because in the tourist season they
are really outnumbered by the whites in St. Augustine. They have their
own scattering quarters which they are not strictly kept to; they are
segregated, but not concentrated, though their souls are saved in
separate churches, and their minds informed in separate schools. They
even have their own picture-theaters, but they are softly insinuated
through the white population in all subordinate service, and I never
knew the slightest unkindness of word or deed offered them. If there
were any you would not know it from them; by day, at least, they are
silent, and they seem always inoffensive, though very independent. You
mostly know them as the drivers of the wood-colored surreys which still
anticipate the elsewhere universal taxicabs, and as the disseminators of
more or less unreliable information. They do not mean to deceive the
stranger, and their own ignorance may have been first abused. As I heard
them passing our gate in St. George Street (where we dwelt in the winter
of our second sojourn at St. Augustine), and pointing out the objects of
interest, I could have wished to share in both the illusion and
delusion. Their race apparently rested content in its lowly employs,
with seldom the hope or endeavor for higher things. In some cases which
seemed few, it sometimes became propertied, and owned its usually
decrepit cabins in and beyond the suburbs; but it was said that if any
housing improved, and put on an air of prosperity it was not well
regarded. This may have been the excuse of racial unthrift, and I have
to urge, to the contrary the signal instance of a colored man living in
a very comfortable house of his own in his own grounds, without
molestation from any lowest or spitefullest white witness of his
condition. He paid what seemed heavy interest to me, and taxes which
seemed heavy to him, under the municipal government of St. Augustine
which has lately changed to the commission form (a favorite experiment
in the South as well as the West) without abatement of the rates, which
remain of metropolitan proportions.

The colored people are by far for the most part entirely black, to the
credit of both races, since intermarriage is abhorred both by the laws
and customs, and they are of the prevailing plainness of their race. On
the other hand, one might go very far and wide elsewhere without seeing
so much outright beauty among the whites, and especially in the sex
whose business it is to be beautiful, as in St. Augustine. Age is no
handsomer there than in other places, and now and then country folks of
the cadaverous cracker type appeared with the produce of their sandy
fields or groves; but the beauty and grace of the young girls of city
birth was extraordinarily great. Perhaps it was from my lifelong
fondness for the Spanish that I chose to think these divine creatures,
so, slimly shaped and darkly fair, were ol the Spanish race which for
three hundred years ruled or misruled in St. Augustine. There was the
like fineness in some of the men’s faces which earned later into life
than in the women’s; but the Spaniards have left so little trace
otherwise in the city, that they were probably those insular Spanish,
the Minorcans, whose touching story is a minor strain in the romance of
the city’s life.

In all public places the American girl prevailed in the excess of
fashion which it is her prerogative to exploit everywhere, with the
helpless American father fettered to her high-heeled, sharp-toed little
shoes, and the American mother distractedly struggling to keep up with
her. This sovereign of our society did not appear very early in the
winter, or indeed till after the turn of the year, when with a roar of
cannon and a flutter of Hags (the Spanish colors romantically
pre-eminent) the gates of the great Ponce de Leon Hotel were thrown open
and the season was officially proclaimed. By that time the Alcazar was
pretty well filled in lounge and _patio_ by such fashion as had not
waited so long as at the Ponce de Leon to come up from Palm Beach, or
perhaps not even been there, or wished to be; these things are mysteries
which one had better leave to the pictures and the letter-press of the
Sunday editions. I myself was happiest in the looks of those hoarders
and roomers who abounded in the Plaza from the small hotels and
lodging-houses and intimidated my meek spirit less than the guests of
the two great hotels which are not quite so much the last word in
architecture as in fashion. They are the syllabling of the architect who
won the commission for them while yet a student in the _École des Beaux
Arts_, and pronounced it in accents which, though still so distinctive,
are now a little archaic. People now do not want that series of drawing
and dining-rooms which open from the inner _patio_ of the Ponce de Leon;
and if they did, they would not have the form fitly to inhabit them;
their short skirts and their lounge-coats are not for such gracious
interiors, but rather for the golf-links.

[Illustration: THE PLAZA]

One heard of teas in the afternoons and of balls at night which filled
these rooms, but, as I have owned, I am afraid of the great world, and
am so eager to despise the pride of life when I think I see it that I
make myself unhappy in the vision, and I would rather invite the reader
to fly with me to the more congenial society of the Plaza. I will not
even attempt to speak of the balls at the Ponce de Leon from the
exclusion, too voluntary to know that it might have been involuntary,
which I suffered. Any one could share the pleasure of the tango-teas in
the most fashionable restaurants by simply coming to them and either
dancing them or drinking them. The dancing was actually the affair of
young couples who seemed to stray in from the street, and

[Illustration: AN ANCIENT DOORWAY]

circled round between the tables in those rhythmical embraces of the
dance to the harsh clatter of the band and the applause of those who
preferred the tea form of tango. It was very strange, and a little
periculous-looking, but practically it came to no more harm than the
waltz did in its day when it alarmed the delicacy of Byron’s muse a
hundred years ago. Besides these tango-teas there were street dances at
night promised by local associations, but mostly defeated by cold snaps
from the North or West, which seized them as it were unawares, after the
street had been roped off, and hung with lanterns, or flooded with
moonlight. Where you expected a gay masquerade what you got was a couple
or two in citizen’s dress performing to the music of what sounded like a
German band, but may have been German-American. Cordova Street was the
favorite scene of such hilarities, but there are many other St.
Augustine streets named after Spanish cities or provinces which I liked
to walk through or drive through merely because they were called
Saragossa, or Granada, or Barcelona, or Malaga, or the like, and brought
their namesakes endearingly to mind.

One year I recall, however, when the kinder night caressed the scene
with the tenderness of summer, and glowed upon the same southward space
of Cordova Street where with the first hour of dusk the feet of the
dancers began to whisper on the sanded asphalt. The new moon, with
upward-tilted horns, swam in the blue above the palms of the Alcazar
gardens and sank into its depths while the dance thickened in the
mystical pace of the one-step and the music throbbed with the monotony
of the barbaric time. It was such a scene as we might have looked down
upon from some balcony in medieval Florence, where the youth of the city
danced from street to street, and the children were allowed up to look
on till all hours, as they were now in St. Augustine.

In St. Augustine the shops and theaters are open on Sunday, as in any
continental European town, but the same may be said of the churches,
which are abundantly frequented. The favorite dissipation of the local
youth was apparently the ice-cream served at small tables in the
drug-stores, where with the bane the antidote could be promptly
supplied; but I should say, or almost say, that the favorite
dissipation of the aliens of every age was the sail to the nearer and
farther North Beaches. This could be afforded at twenty-five cents,
which paid the sail both ways, and the transit of the sandy stretch of
the island to the ocean shore in a horse-car drawn by a mule hitched at
the side of the car, but did not include the roast oysters at the
restaurants. If you wish to lose yourself in the sandy jungles of
Anastasia Island you may cross by trolley-car on a pro rata payment of
that supremely extortionate toll which I have already lamented. But I
hope you do not wish to cross as yet, but will be willing to keep with
me along the bay-front, either way you like, past some minor hotels and
pleasant dwellings southward and the ruins of old Spanish houses and
dwellings northward, when suddenly the fort of San Marco, now misnamed
Marion, blocks your way with its mass, darkly but not gloomily Spanish,
and incomparably monumental.

It is the most perfect example of the Vauban ideal of military
architecture anywhere remaining; yet neither for this, nor for anything
else are you to leave the Plaza, which is the heart of St. Augustine,
until you have exhausted all the emotions it can impart. They are not
many, and for me the chiefest of them came from my affectionate interest
in those minor hotel guests and roomers who seemed to resort there much
more in the March of last year than of this. Then they arrived, with
their home-town papers (bought of the blind newsman at the corner of the
post-office) and sat, rows upon rows of them, on the benches converging
upon the stand where a very admirable band of musicians, claiming to be
Venetian, but upon confidential approach owning themselves Neapolitan,
seemed to play day-long and night-long while my home-towners exchanged
personal histories, and declared their opinions of the climate and the
weather of St. Augustine.

[Illustration: A BIT OF OLD ST. AUGUSTINE]

With the wind in the right quarter, and the sun in a forenoon sky either
entirely blue, or a soft blend of white clouds melting in spaces of
azure, the play of light through the palmetto and cedar tops on the
facade of the cathedral across the street or on the curves of the triune
belfry beside it, left nothing to be asked of the climate or weather.
But both are subject to strange vicissitudes, and especially from
melting warmth to cold of the ice-brook’s temper. You should especially
beware of the wind that blows with soft insistence from the southeast
till the first thing you know it has got round you, as if

[Illustration: THE CITY GATES]

morally, and holds you in the clutch of a cold snap, incredibly
prophesied from the northwest. The Floridian winter, which is not a
season, but merely an incident of the year-long summer of the latitude,
seldom comes from New York or Boston, but arrives from Chicago by way of
Chattanooga, and its affiliations are with the Middle West, as most of
its visitors are. Sometimes it comes like a thief in the night, and
twice it has happened with me to be resting on one of the home-towners’
benches in the Plaza, and with head thrown back to be admiring the
mildest of full moons, and then before morning to hear the rush and
trample of a sudden shower on my roof and to wake in the morning eager
for the fire of live-oak logs on my hearth.

This was so in the gentle January of one of my sojourns, and in either
of the two Marches I have known for the maddest months of the St.
Augustine winter. They say that December is commonly mild, as with the
resignation of the declining year, and that February is not so very bad,
but I search my lexicon in vain for a good word to say of March, though
by then the mocking-birds have long been in full chorus and are making
believe that all the songsters of the northing spring are lingering with
us. I am sorry to say that our noisy, big, vulgar robin was never among
these, but in compensation there was now and then audibly a blue-jay,
whether in its authentic note, or the mocking-bird’s thin reproduction,
and welcomer still was the simulated fluting of the red-bird, sweet as
if it came from the Middle-Western woods of my boyhood. With these
sylvan voices the hymning of the nuns joined from their school-garden
across the way, and the far-floating call of the crows from the upper
blue. Their call was never the harsh cawing of our Northern crows, but
something more like the colloquies of the English rooks among their
“immemorial elms.” As the January and February days follow one another
in an almost unbroken succession of sunny days one is apt to see
turkey-buzzards that spread their wider wings among the crows. A trio of
them, I remember, liked to perch on the cupola of a neighboring house,
where they seemed in the early morning to be discussing the business of
the coming day, and consulting upon matters of grave importance, but
were probably settling some question of recently discovered carrion. I
liked best to have them far aloof, and I particular fancy for the way
their pinions bent thinly upward at the edge.

If the reader is still, as I hope, in the Plaza with me, I would have
him leave our places on the Mid-Western benching, and come and lean over
the rail which keeps the dogs and boys from throwing themselves to the
alligator in his pool there, where he lies stiller than the stone of
his bath. In some moment when the water is coldest he rises to the sun
and basks motionless and soundless on the stone curbing, but no one ever
saw him unlid those loathly eyes of his, or stir those antediluvian
limbs. Ever, do I say? This is wrong. I myself have seen the monster
raise himself on his hideous arms and legs and, “being wrought upon in
the extreme” by his intolerable prescience of a change in the weather,
lift his head and roar--roar as the jungled lion roars, or as the bull
that sees his rival cross the meadow where he ranges in challenge to
mortal combat. Nothing in nature has more surprised me, and the effect
with my fellow home-towners was the same; they came running from, the
benches--men, women, and children--and hung upon the alligator’s fence
and wondered and worshiped like so many idolaters of some serpent of Old
Nile, till his bellow subsided into a hoarse bleat, and then a long sigh
that shook the disgusting folds of his throat into silence.

Several times already in this study of the Plaza I have tried to mention
the ivied Gothic of the Episcopal church which faces the southwestern
corner, and then the galleried upper stories of the line of shops
stretching eastward forming a picturesque recall of the St. Augustine
which was once so much more all galleries than the ancient city now is.
But I could not somehow leave the intersecting paths and the flower-beds
beside them, or that gentle little Canovan figure with ankles crossed
and wrists on hips which discreetly invites from its pedestal the
home-towner unfolding his paper as he advances to place himself with his
back to the sun on a favorite bench. Still less could I leave the
somewhat plain, not to say severe, obelisk near the fountain which
celebrates in stately inscriprional Spanish the promulgation of the
constitution of 1812. Which king of the several constitution-giving
sovereigns of Spain it was who gave that charter of the national
liberties I do not know or much care to know. The charm, the
provincial-patriotic charm of the obelisk remains, as it remains with
every crumbling ruin of the city which the Spanish colonists builded and
as you feel it at many points on the swerving, rather than curving,
narrow ways between St. George Street and the bay-front. I here the
wooden balconies droop from the drooping wall of time-stained coquina;
the doors and windows open flush upon the sidewalks; the little gardens
cherish a few onions and heads of lettuce; the dooryard trees support
themselves in the friendly angles and ripen, slowly ripen their plums,
their peaches, their guavas, their figs, and such other fruits as love a
sunny exposure in literature.

[Illustration: THE SPANISH FORT]

These little sympathetic lanes continue to King Street, but seldom
cross it. There at the end of the Plaza, where the old Spanish
market-house consents to the modern legend of having been a slave-mart,
other kind avenues take up the tale and tell it, mostly in the terms of
the gentle Charlotte Street, till they bring you almost suddenly upon
the great fortress of San Marco set impregnable across your path. There,
if it could have spoken, San Marco might well have forbidden the ravage
of the flames which have consumed large spaces of the Spanish houses on
the bay-front, and left only the crumbling coquina walls and arches and
the scorched palmettoes to attest the tragedy of their destruction; but
it is not till you pass San Marco that you come upon the means of
enforcing such a mandate--not till you come in fact to the city
water-works where the splendid up-gush from the deeply subterranean
springs diffuses their odor through the air. Many people--perhaps
most--do not like this odor, and few if any like the taste of the water,
unless they have been inured to the offensive virtues of the ferruginous
and sulphurous springs of Germany. It is not healing like these, but
physicians say you may safely drink it if you can stand it; and to the
right, before you reach the water-works, you may visit the Fountain of
Youth which it seems an error to suppose Ponce de Leon did not discover
when he came to Florida in 1513, for he left the fountain behind him
there with the date in a pattern of stone near the source. In fact he
left two Fountains of Youth at St. Augustine, but the one which was to
the westward of the actual fountain was closed by the Board of Health as
unhygienic. For a reasonable sum, however, you may drink of the
remaining spring, and if it does not rejuvenate you it will scarcely
disappoint you, unless you have expected the impossible of it, or even
the credible. This remaining Fountain of Youth may well be left behind
in the realm of fancy, and the atmosphere of fable which so richly
invests it, for a return to the great fortress which holds down more
history than any other such edifice on our continent. Not even the
citadel at Quebec outrivals it for the events which have elapsed in its
time, for it has stood invulnerable during the two hundred and fifty
years since its foundations were powerfully laid beside the wave that
washes its base.

                          [TO BE CONCLUDED.]

                    *       *       *       *       *

                     A Confession of St. Augustine

                           BY W. D. HOWELLS

                                PART II

THOUGH it was in 1513 that Ponce de Leon came sailing from Puerto Rico
to find the waters of youth, it was not till 1565 that the terrible, the
cruel (yet no more responsibly cruel or terrible than a tiger) Pedro
Menendez de Aviles came in sight of those sands, and fell upon the
weak-minded, fever-wasted Huguenots whom he found in possession and
captured and slaughtered these heretics, and put Spain and God in
keeping of their own again. The tale need hardly be repeated here; once
for all the pious, pitiless Pedro has told it for himself to his king,
the pious, pitiless Philip, in a letter found among the colonial
archives at Seville and included among other curious documents in _The
Unknown History of Our Country_, as it is entitled by the lady of St.
Augustine who compiled it. The Lutherans, as Menendez, like all the
Spaniards of his time, called the Huguenots, were by the laws and usage
of the time illegally there, and it was his duty as a loyal subject and
a good Christian to destroy them. He was much concerned besides in
saving the souls of the savages from these Lutherans who had the gift of
insinuating affection for themselves among the Indians along with their
heretical instruction.

There is something wonderful in the moral security of the murderer’s
account of his crime, which was not a private or personal murder so much
as a political act duly avenged on the Spaniards by the French, when
their turn came. For the present the French were miserably officered;
they were spent by hunger and sickness; the winds and waves were leagued
with the Spaniards against them; and they gave themselves up to
Menendez, as he had fairly stipulated, without any promise of mercy.
Then he took them out from their comrades’ sight by tens till he had put
them all to death, except a few who proved to be of the true faith just
in time, and other few who were such excellent artificers that their
skill could not be spared by the captors who spared their lives. There
is a touch in the fashion of their taking off by Menendez worthy of an
hidalgo who was born in Granada and who knew how a gentleman should
behave in such a matter. He had their hands bound, and led them aside,
and then, to spare their feelings, he had them stabbed in the back.

There was bloodshed of this sort or that pretty well everywhere along
these white sands, but death had so long died out of the dead that one
day when we motored down Anastasia Island to a point where there had
been a battle, we lunched on the table stretched under the trees of a
pleasant farm, and used a half-petrified skull to keep down our Japanese
paper table-spread without molestation from its terrible memories. It
does not sound very pleasant, but we were no more aware of the
petrifaction’s human quality than it was of ours, and in the farm-yard
near by the peach-trees kept on with their leisurely blossoming as if
there had never been slaughter of French or Spaniards in the shade where
we ate our sandwiches with the sweet, small oysters from the shore, and
drained our thermos-bottles of their coffee. In fact, after the
Spaniards were with comparatively little wanton bloodshed secure in
their hold of Florida, life at St. Augustine went on in the paternal
terms which the obedient children of their fatherly kings found kindly
enough. During those three hundred years, one Philip followed another
from the Second till the Fourth, and St. Augustine drowsed under their
rule till some successor of them ceded it to the British in exchange
for Cuba, which the British had somehow (it does not matter how) come
by. Meanwhile, as the papers from the Sevillian archives testify, the
bond between the prince and his far-off subjects was close if not
tender. When any of them was in trouble he wrote to the king; a priest
who fancied himself wronged in his duties or privileges wrote; the
families of old soldiers wrote, dunning for their pensions; any one who
had a grievance against any other, or a pull of his own, wrote to the
king. Sometimes the king wrote back, or seemed to write, for perhaps he
did not personally read all those letters. When, in due course, his
faithful lieges began to build him that beautiful fort of San Marco they
wrote so pressingly and constantly for money that the kings made its
cost their joke. One Philip said he thought they must have now got it so
high that he ought to see its bastions from Madrid; another asked if
they were making its curtains of solid silver.

By that time, from one cause or another, the royal funds had begun to
run low; the English buccaneers had long since learned to tap them at
their sources in the galleons bringing the gold and silver ingots up the
Spanish Main from South America. When the authorities of St. Augustine
had got the lofty bastions of San Marco finally up and the solid-silver
curtains down, General Oglethorpe, who had meanwhile settled Georgia,
marched a force of Englishmen through the forests and morasses to
Anastasia and sat down before the stronghold, and began to bombard it.
But in their season there are clouds of mosquitoes and myriads of
sand-flies in that island and they bit his sick and homesick soldiers
fearfully. Still he held on, and he might have reduced the stronghold
and the starving population of three thousand civilian refugees within
its walls if one day a relief of Spanish ships had not come sailing up
from Havana. Then the British general struck his tents and led his
bitten and baffled forces home through the forests and morasses.

San Marco has never been attacked since, for when our revolution broke
out, Florida did not join the other colonies in their revolt against the
British, who remained peaceably enough in possession till they ceded the
province back to Spain. Then the old city resumed its slumbers in her
keeping, till Spain in her turn ceded Florida, with its Seminole War, to
the United States, when the name of the fort was changed, fatuously
enough, from San Marco to Fort Marion, in honor of a hero whose side
Florida had not taken in our revolt. It is devoted now mainly to rousing
and allaying the curiosity of the swarming tourists who haunt its
medieval fastnesses, and for the first time in their lives realize what
a past they had no part in was like. In this way it serves the best
possible use, but otherwise it is employed as the scene of rehearsals
for the more populous events of the picture-plays. On a single occasion
last year a company of three hundred combatants--white and black, men,
women, and children, hired overnight for the purpose--thronged the noble
place and repelled each other in an invasion by the Japanese, with a
constant explosion of old-fashioned musketry which sounded like the
detonations of the unmuffled motors of a fleet of such boats as infest
all our inland or coastwise waters. These, no longer in the force of
former years, make themselves heard over the still waters of the bay at
St. Augustine any especially fine evening, when they madden the echoes
with their infernal racketing. No longer as in their former years, I
say, but they are still in such force as to keep frightened away the
sail-boats which used to flock there, but now linger only in a sad two
or three. Otherwise the bay is not crowded with any sort of craft: a few
yachts of houseboat model; the little steamers which ply between St.
Augustine and Daytona, the fishing craft which bring the inexhaustible
oysters and their multifarious finny kindred to the excellent
fish-market; and, on stated days, the great, swelling stern-wheel
steamboat arriving from Jacksonville as from the Western rivers of sixty
years ago formed the pleasure and business of the port; though I must
not forget the two gasolene packets running to the North beaches, at
hours which it took them the whole of January to ascertain and specify.

Otherwise the port offered a good reproduction of the two centuries of
calm which it must have enjoyed during the Spanish rule; to be sure
there was now the rattling of the trolley-car over the extortionate
toll-bridge to the island which could not have been heard then, or even
imagined. I like to fancy that time as one of entire peacefulness for
all not of the New Religion who after the time of the devout Menendez
are scarcely imaginable there. The spirit of the time lingers yet in a
few half-dozen old coquina houses standing flush upon the streets. One
of them stood next to our own, covered, roof and wall, with ivy and with
roses and yellow bignonia flowers, where Prince Murat, the Bonapartist
heir of the Neapolitan throne, lived and died in a long, unmolested
exile. We found it a charmingly simple interior, much like that of the
little house so lately owned and occupied by a gentle, elderly Spanish
lady who received us like friends upon fit introduction, but had to keep
her street door locked against the tourists apt to make themselves at
home by walking in without ceremony. The door was overhung by a true
Spanish balcony, and behind the house reposed an old garden of trees and
flowers and vegetables, with the only staircase of the house climbing
the outer wall from it. The gentle lady was proud of the age of her
house, which she held as great as that of the oldest house in St.
Augustine in the same street, or even greater. There is a rivalry
between oldest houses in St. Augustine, but after making friends with
her we would admit no competition. We always looked for her in the
quaint garden as we passed, and we were always hoping to go into it
again, when one day suddenly, as such things seem to come to one in St.
Augustine, we heard that she was dead of pneumonia. By chance also we
saw her funeral starting from the cathedral, and then, keeping our own
course, we fell in behind the sad train by another chance, and followed
till it left us to keep its way to the arid and sandy new cemetery of
her church.

The old Spanish cemetery, now disused, lies far away on the edge of the
marshes to the northwest, where it was sweet one morning to find it
basking in the sun, under its wilding cedars, in the keeping of the cows
which made it their pasturage. When I wandered a little way among its
forgotten and neglected graves, I found no name Spanisher than Burns on
one of the stones. There might have been Spanisher names; I only say I
did not happen on them then, though later, following the wandering
cowpaths, I did find such a name as, say, Lopez. But at the worst the
old Spanish cemetery is not so all misnamed as the old Huguenot
burial-ground, where no Huguenot was ever buried, and where you cannot
read a solitary name of French accent or denomination. The Old Religion,
as distinguished from the New Religion which the Huguenots professed, is
the faith which now perhaps not unfitly prevails in St. Augustine, but
there is a great variety in the Protestant faiths, let alone that
difference of white and black which is of such marked emphasis that I do
not suppose any one could get to heaven from a church where he was not
properly segregated. The colored churches, divided from the white, are
again divided by such a nice distinction, for example, as Methodist
Episcopal and African Methodist Episcopal. Many of the colored people,
however, are broadly Roman Catholic, but they also have their own
churches apart from the white.

When the king of Spain ceded Florida to the king of England, late in the
eighteenth century, the Spanish inhabitants of St. Augustine largely, if
not mostly, went away to Cuba, but their religion continued in the
primacy which it still enjoys. The cathedral fronting the Plaza from the
north is not the cathedral of former days, but a dignified reproduction
of the cathedral devoured by the flames which in St. Augustine seem to
have a peculiar appetite for the older edifices. One steps into it from
the twentieth century and finds oneself in the serious silence which is
the same in all the temples of that faith, and which one might almost
persuade oneself was a religious emotion and not the esthetic impression
it really is. It makes one wish for the moment that one were of the Old
Religion, and this was the effect with me when I woke in the morning and
heard the nuns’ sweet voices rising in their matins over the gardens of
the girls’ school across the way from us. It was a privilege to dwell
in the sound and sight of that place, and one felt something of an
unmerited consecration from it; when one met two of those kind sisters,
who always came and went in twos, one gladly stepped from the narrow
footway of St. George Street, and gave way to them with a sense of
unmerited blessing from the sight of them. The figure of St. Joseph
looked down, at first glance rather apparitionally, from an upper window
across the flowers, and seemed to bless them in the benediction not
withheld from the shrill hilarity of the girl children and the
undergraduates romping at their noonday games in the open galleries. One
night we went to a dramatic performance in the school given by a
sisterhood of young people from the outside under the nuns’ auspices,
with blameless dances and instructive mythological tableaux. When we
would not wait for the play which was to follow these we were stayed by
one of the girl pupils and entreated to remain; the play was going to be
the best thing of the whole evening; and now I am sorry we did not

Such spare incidents were the most salient events of our sojourn, which
I could easily pretend was full of much more startling experiences. St.
Augustine is indeed the setting of almost any most dramatic fact, as the
companies of movie-players, rehearsing their pantomimes everywhere, so
recurrently testified. No week passed without the encounter of these
genial fellow-creatures dismounting from motors at this picturesque
point or that, or delaying in them to darken an eye, or redden a lip or
cheek, or pull a bodice into shape, before alighting to take part in the
drama. I talk as if there were no men in these affairs, but there were
plenty, preferably villains, like brigands or smugglers or savages, with
consoling cowboys or American cavalrymen for the rescue of ladies in
extremity. Seeing the films so much in formation, we naturally went a
great deal to see them ultimated in the movie-theaters, where we found
them nearly all bad. In this I do not suppose that they differed from
the movie-drama elsewhere, or that they were more unfailingly worthless.
They were less offensive as they were more romantic; when they tried to
be realistic they illustrated the life of crime in the East, and of
violence in the West. There was very little comedy, but one night, in
the representation of a medieval action, an involuntary stroke of
burlesque varied the poetry of the love interest when the mechanical
piano, which had been set to the music of the tango, continued that
deplorable strain while the funeral of a nun slowly paced through the
garden of the convent to the chapel. The general vulgarity and worse
seemed the more pity because the theaters were always well filled not
only with prouder visitors from the great hotels, and the friendly
roomers from everywhere, but with nice-looking townspeople, who had
brought their children with them when they had not let them come alone.

The children seemed about at most hours of their parents’ waking, and,
as in Italy and Spain, one saw little ones of tender age sharing their
pleasures of the public places. Very small boys and girls played at
night in the paths of the Plaza, or hung upon the railing of the
alligator’s bath-tub, and admired his secular repose; now and then one
fell asleep at its mother’s knee, and I thought the whole usage homelike
and kindly, however not perfectly wise. It was at least part of the
native life, which the tourist lite so much overran; and yet that
tourist life was genial, too. It went and came in conversible enjoyment
of the place, from its various lodgings and from the delicatessen shops
where it inexpensively fed. As the season advanced it thickened upon the
town, and the dwellers up and down the more convenient streets were
adventurously besought to share their houses with the roomers. We
ourselves were not exempt from their entreaties, and I do not yet quite
know how we escaped having one mother in Israel for a paying guest; she
sat down at her own suggestion to argue the matter with us, and I
thought really she had much of the logic on her side. Possibly she
prolonged her argument because she liked so much the rich glow from the
mass of the live-oak logs burning on our hearth, and I did not blame
her; rather do I blame myself, and shall always blame, for not asking
in to that genial warmth the little frail old dame who arrived one cold
day on our veranda to offer her pathetically humble stock of needles and
pins for our purchase. I then thought it enough to buy a quarter’s worth
of pins, and did not think, insensate that I was, to ask her indoors to
warm herself at our fire. She was from Michigan, she said, and that
Florida day must have been mockingly bitter to her. She faded into the
afternoon chill, and left me, when I realized it, to suffer for my sin
of omission with vain thoughts of pursuing her, and bringing her back
and offering her tea and toast and whatever instant refreshments I could

While I am about owning this unavailing regret, I may as well remember
how I one day bought a wagon-load of fat pine from a thin little old
woman, who proved, on the testimony of our colored maid, a widow trying
to work the bit of farm her husband’s death had left her, and whom I
ought to have bought a load of fat pine from every day, but I did not
think to order even another load, and so never saw her again. This also
lies heavy on my soul, but I thank Heaven we bought all the tumblers of
delicious guava jelly which a little neighbor girl offered us; and since
we did this I wish she had seemed needier than she probably was. Not
many people came to us with things to sell, but we soon began getting
boxes of delicious strawberries from the farm-wife whom once we found
working in her own field, and we never ceased buying them as long as
they lasted. It was a quaint place, of wooden Gothic, holding its own
against age, and charming the air with an effect of personal history.
She led us over it, and invited us to tell any one who asked that it was
to let furnished, as I now tell the reader. A lady not otherwise of our
acquaintance accompanied us on her own incentive, as by mere force of
habit, and said she always liked to visit that house, it was so

Very little of the country life showed itself about the town, and when
it did it was mostly colored; there was one white orange-farmer who came
at first with his fruit, and then, on our question of the sweetness of
his tangerines, promptly ceased to come. But there is a famous orange
grove northward of the city where the tangerines are better, and you may
be shown on a ladder plucking them from the tree, if you are of a mind
to be so photographed. It is perhaps a little too conscious, but the
orchard is not the less sincere for that, and you may see there the
preparation which the orange-growers of northern Florida have provided
against frost ever since the Great Freeze: pots and pans of
combustibles, to make a heavy smudge and blanket the fruit against the
inclemency of the skies. When the spring began to thicken in leaf and
blossom upon our vernal world, the perfume of the orange flowers struck
through the air a quarter of a mile off and involved us in its dense
sweetness as we drove by on our often way “Round the Horn.” As is well
known, the orange-trees are always flowering and fruiting together, but
it may not be so well known that in St. Augustine they have infected the
peach-trees with their habit. When we arrived the first week of January
these were already trying the temperature with a bud here and there, and
when we left in the second week of April, they were still tentatively
blowing, as the New England country folks say, while their earlier
ventures were rewarded with half-grown peaches. There was never that
passionate flush of bloom which makes the peach-tree a thing of
unspeakable beauty at the North; with the whole season from Christmas to
Easter for its work, it felt no hurry here. It was so with most other
fruits and flowers, especially with the nondescript fruit called a
loquat in Bermuda, and in St. Augustine a Japanese plum, which began
with no perceptible flower, and slowly yellowed and mellowed to the hand
of predatory boyhood, though that might have had it for the asking in
any dooryard. In the first days of April the mulberries were black
enough to be eaten by the black boys. We made no account of roses and
violets; but the poinsettia seemed to merit attention by keeping its
fire-red spikes on till they dropped at the coming of spring, and left
the bougainvillea to take up the tale.

That famous orange orchard which we must not leave behind yet, is
admirable for the avenues first of palms, and then of live-oaks which
form its approach; the oaks stretch their writhing limbs across the
driveway, and put a still weirder disposition on from their hearsing
with long plumes of Spanish moss, in perhaps the least endearing appeal
of nature to human nature. Half an acre from the stooping trunks the
branches reach far out as in some strife of “dragons of the prime,”
hairy with the hideous gray of the parasite, which waves funerally in
the air. It is said to be finally the death of the tree, but there is
here and there one which escapes its throttling grip, and especially we
knew one which in a neglected garden spread itself abroad over half an
acre of ground. Always it was a pleasure to drive by that vast oak, as
it was a pleasure to drive under the oaks which border the long Avenue
San Marco on the way to the road Round the Horn. Last year it seemed to
have been ravaged by some sort of insect, but it was putting out its
gray-green leaves anew, with the water-oak in young verdure bulking
freshly and refreshingly beside it.

The drive Round the Horn is the most characteristic of the drives about
St. Augustine, and is more comprehensive of the general interest than
any other. The bridge which you presently cross gives one of the fairest
prospects of the city, with its Andalusian towers and roofs, and then
you are on the way back to them, by a shell road winding through the
reaches and expanses of palmetto scrub, among the stems of the rather
spindling pines. The scrub is the wonder and the terror of the local
landscape, and, so far as I know, the whole Floridian landscape. Of all
the vegetable enemies of man it seems the most inexorable. You may cut
it, or burn its fans down to the roots; it bides its time, and after a
brief season of sparse grass, which the cows eat in default of other
herbage, the scrub renews its hold upon the nether regions, and must be
dug up, fiber by fiber, before the meager soil can be freed from it for
such crops as will grow in it. More crops will grow in what looks like
mere sand than you would imagine, or the Northern farmer or gardener
could hope to harvest from it. If you transplant the young trees from
among the scrub, they willingly flourish, when encouraged with a little
water, into columnar palmettoes, such as make the promise of a noble
avenue on the drive to the beautiful woodland called Lewis’s Point,
after a philanthropist whose public and private beneficences at St.
Augustine form a Tolstoyan romance. But this is not the place to tell
the story which, as your colored driver murmurs it, lends its poetry to
your course through the winding ways of the natural park, with their
outlooks upon the still waters of the bays and bayous around. You need
not otherwise believe all that your driver says, especially all he says
of the serpents which frequent these groves and climb the vines of the
scuppernong to share its fruit with the colored boys competing for the
grapes. Like these boys, the snake which loves the fruit most is black,
and sometimes in the imagination of the driver is of as lofty reach as
the vine itself.

Candor obliges me to say that although we saw scuppernong vines in
abundance, we never saw any snakes on them, black or of any other color;
but once in driving home from the Point in the cool of a very cool
evening we saw a captive rattlesnake held in leash by the man who had
caught it. The loathly worm was quite torpid from the cold, and lay a
gray, clayey length that showed the whole pattern of its checkered
design, with its rattles a full yard away from its deadly fangs. We did
not stay to ask how or where it had been taken, but hurried by through
the early dusk which the Southern twilight had suddenly lapsed into
after our visit to the vineyard where a German family makes a “fine,
fruity old port” from the berries of the scuppernong. These grow,
anomalously enough, the size of small plums, in loose clusters of three
or four, and are of the flavor of our Concord grapes, but do not
transport so well as the wine, and probably would not ripen in the
North. The name had always a charm for me from its musical enumeration
in that pleasant rhyme of Longfellow’s renowning our Catawba beyond all
other native, and some alien vintages; and I now satisfied my wish to
see the scuppernong growing on some spreading trellises which it
roofed. But it has never the soft insinuation of vines better known to
literature, and before the leaves come to hide them in the spring, it is
covered with spiky twigs instead of the delicate, clinging tendrils of
other grapes. The spreading trellises here were of no great spread, and
were presently lost in an orchard of oranges and other fruit trees, all
ordered with a neatness very alien to the sloven farming of the country
about, but much in keeping with the young Bavarian sisters, with their
long braids and smooth masses of dark hair, who came out to show us the
place. They came out of a new-built house of Northern pattern--first to
save us from the misgivings of their dogs; and last--their widowed
mother and older sister being in town--the capable little women led us
to the barn where the bottles and barrels of the scuppernong were
stored. When I proposed to buy a bottle of the wine, they wished me to
taste a glass of it that I might test its quality; and they even allowed
our colored driver (a very mildly coffee-colored driver) to join in the
test, so that he was able to add his voice in favor of the vintage from
a whole tumblerful.

The drive from the farm through the forest solitude back to the highway
was haunted by the sad or savage black faces starting up before us as in
the woodland road, and was not cheered by the lamps in the windows of
the moldering hamlet of Moultrie. Ruin seemed to have grown upon the
place since we had seen it an hour before, and a decay at once eerie and
ramshackle invested the forsaken villa on rising ground beyond the
estuary where the little oysters mustered their serried ranks in the
ebb-tide of the muddy flats. This villa could never have been very
impressive itself, but the massive stone posts of the gateways
approaching it were of even undue grandeur; otherwise the unpainted wood
of the local architecture, which had never known dignity nor beauty, was
of that repulsive forlornness which seems characteristic of the Southern
farm or village house in its decay. Yet if the ground has once been
cleared of all that man has builded for the shelter of his love or
pride, there is sometimes a charm in the utter effacement. One day of
another year another driver carried us by a place where he said he used
to bring a lady from the North whose family home it had once been, and
where, beyond the squalor of a negro suburb, an opening in the
scrub-pine and palmetto stretched a wilding lawn under gray live-oaks
and shining magnolias growing apart from one another as if from
intention rather than by accident. It was so fit a place for the mansion
which had once stood there in the stately keeping of the slave-holding
past that one must look twice to make sure that the vanished home was
not haunting the scene. The Northern lady who frequented it was only far
off akin to those who had once dwelt there, and it did not seem that her
visits were the effect of family piety; but she came and came as long as
she remained in St. Augustine, and as we should have come if we had
remained in reach of the beautiful, wistful spot.

As for the allure of St. Augustine itself, it was largely that of all
small cities not densely built over their area, and it kept the
tradition of a country town in dooryards with flowers, and back yards
with homely vegetables, and here and there a vacant lot where the sweet
corn and the pea vines flourished, not remote from the centers of
commerce and fashion which, as I have said, do not intermit their
business or pleasure on Sundays. I liked driving in the outlying streets
which had once hoped to be avenues, but when Palm Beach and Miami had
taken the hope of all-winter resort from St. Augustine had given it up
(not in desperation so much as in resignation) and become gently
weed-grown and grass-grown roadways. Where the tops of the wayside oaks
or cedars arched together overhead, they were of a gloom that was very
pleasant, and where the colonnading and arcading ceased, it was still a
pensive pleasure to find oneself passing the simple gardens and lawns,
not too wild-grown, of houses that had quite ceased trying to be the
winter homes of well-to-do Northern invalids, and were now either for
sale outright, or were putting off the inevitable hour by offering
furnished rooms to let. Every point of the winning city had its moment
of charm, and I did not yield a fonder allegiance to the great Ponce de
Leon when that hostelry gathered a rich sunset in its clustering palms,
and lifted its roofs and towers above them in the lingering afterglow,
than to the Plaza of a sunny morning when my home-towners ranged
themselves with their home-papers on the benching in the checkered
shade, or then, when the full moon sailed above the campanile of the
cathedral, and the alligator dreamed in his fountain, and the old
Spanish market-house tried to remember which of the home-towners it was
that beat at checkers during the long games of the forenoon. It was fine
also when the swift twilight fled before the dusk over the waters that
stretched between St. Augustine and St. Anastasia; but no finer than
other divisions of the day at other places. If I were driven to choose,
I should favor a mild Sunday forenoon on the road crossing from farther
St. George Street over the water-gate that keeps the estuary of Maria
Sanchez full, independently of the changing tide. It is then a smooth,
motionless mirror, where the distant towers and roofs of the city glass
themselves with a certain delicate beauty of line and color, and let you
imagine them in whatever story of the city’s past you like. I myself
like some idyllic passage of it not too weighted down with fact, and not
above sympathy with such homely effects as the reedy pastures of the
shore, and the rather shabby cows grazing there in the keeping of
colored mothers past more active cares. If you are for a more romantic
outlook, you are welcome to the long expanse of the southward savannah,
fenced along the horizon by the shadowy walls of woodland. But I think
we shall come together in our pleasure of the river’s name, called after
whatever Spanish maid or matron Maria Sanchez might have been, and that
we shall like it better, and find it the sweeter on our tongues for
being her surname as well as her Christian name.

Matron or maid, Señora or Señorita, it would not be more endearing if it
were of the oldest Spanish derivation than if it were of that Minorcan
origin which lends to the history of St. Augustine the pathos of a
people cruelly injured. The children of this people have multiplied and
prospered in the friendly air of the place for more than a hundred
years, now, since an alien governor rescued them from a wrong which an
alien oppressor had done them. Under their name and with them many poor
Greeks and Italians were lured from Minorca when the islanders were
brought to Florida by the Englishman who promised them home and country
in his employ, and after he had got them to his lands practically
enslaved them. They seem to have been something like our colonial
Redemptioners in the terms of their emigration, but when they found
themselves doomed lifelong to work out the price of their transit, in no
hope of rescue from their tyrant till one of them who had heard of
English law stole away to St. Augustine, and asked the English governor
if they could be held against their will, without land or wages; and the
governor answered, with what roar of disclaimer the reader chooses to
imagine. Certainly not! Then their Moses went back to them, and led them
up out of their bondage at New Smyrna to St. Augustine and left their
English tyrant with the machinery of his indigo farms to rust and ruin.
Ever since they have been an admirably industrious element in their city
of refuge, and honored for their virtues. But it is said that they keep
to themselves away from their kind neighbors, irreparably wounded in
their pride by the conditions of their past sufferings. For my own part
I would like to believe that all that beauty and grace which I liked to
attribute to the blood of the race dominant in the city for three
hundred years, had come down to our day through these deeply wronged
Minorcans; and I would not have the shadow of their tragedy rest,
however lightly, upon the sunny picture of St. Augustine which remains
in my remembrance. Other shadows there were, as there are in all the
memories of life. Sometimes the butcher would not send home the meat in
time, or the sort of meat that was ordered; sometimes the grocer would
not send anything at any time, until he was prodded over the telephone;
but in the end we did not starve, and meanwhile we continued in the
hope that the boys carrying baskets before them on their bicycles were
coming to us with them.

Otherwise our days went by in a summer succession the whole winter
through, but if now and then a day was unseasonably wintry, we justly
blamed our native North for it. I have tried, faithfully if not
successfully, to give some notion of the place and its resources for the
exile who has merely come away to escape care, and I hope I have not
exaggerated them. I have confessed that the drives were not so many as I
could wish, but the pleasant walks were more than I could take, and our
excursions in suburb or beyond always offered some interesting spectacle
or experience. There would be a house, left unoccupied by its owner for
the winter, which we would occupy for the moment at a merely nominal
rent; there was a certain ship’s carpenter whom we liked to see building
a small yacht in his back yard, remote from any of the surrounding
waters; and in a garden beside a house not otherwise memorable there was
the passion of a half-grown kitten for a hen which, as the cat rubbed
against the scandalized and indignant fowl, afforded a spectacle of
unrequited affection that might well have been studied for a painting on
the cover of a popular magazine; there were wide, wilding spaces which
the prosperity of former years had meant for house-lots, and there were
others where houses had once stood, and then fallen away, leaving
flowery tangles of bushes and briers behind them. But the great charm of
the town was in the town itself, and chiefly characteristic of it was
our own St. George Street, which, whether it followed the Maria Sanchez
away in cottages or bungalows of divers ideals to the border of the
far-reaching southward savannah, or led northward beyond the Plaza, was
somehow more Old World in effect than other thoroughfares of the town.
There were not merely the shops where everything you wanted or did not
want was offered you, but there was here and there a Spanish house,
sometimes tottering with age, but in one instance at least keeping its
ancient state of coquina walls flush with the street and with a stretch
of garden beside it, and on the street beyond it the appealing ruin of
like houses left by the last fire. Somewhat early in the season, the old
thoroughfare entered into a generous commercial rivalry with King
Street, and equipped itself with colored electric lamps strung overhead
in gay strands from side to side. By night or by day, with its little
shops and its cracking walls, and people walking up and down its middle
among the vehicles, it was very, very South-European. But it had places
where you could hardly keep from buying the latest magazines, or deny
the claim of your home-paper wherever your home was in the Middle West.
Promptly, twenty-four hours late, there were not only the New York
papers, but the Chicago, the Cleveland, the Cincinnati papers, with news
which had kept quite fresh on the long way south. But, above all, St.
George Street was the directest way to the old fort San Marco, and to
the city gates which remain another monument ol the Spanish will to be
fair as well as strong. Our great architect McKim could not find a
nobler suggestion for his Harvard gates than these gave, and one who
goes to Cambridge may imagine from them the chief ornament of St.
Augustine. They are indeed only the pillars of the gates, with a bit of
the ancient wall beside each, and how the fortification was continued
from them I never could quite realize, or whether in palmetto logs or
coquina walls. The old embankment which once stretched away on either
side was long ago leveled with the plain, but you can still imagine
anything you like of it. You cannot imagine too much of St. Augustine
anywhere within its vanished walls, or in the characteristic landscape,
where it lies a vision of unique appeal in our commonplace American

                              [THE END.]

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